Books

Arnold Bennett’s success made him loathed by other writers

16 April 2022 9:00 am

Virginia Woolf admitted to her journal: ‘I haven’t that reality gift.’ Her contemporary Arnold Bennett had it in spades. He…

Four difficult women who fought to preserve the English countryside

16 April 2022 9:00 am

One thing that Covid lockdown made us appreciate was the importance of being outdoors. When we were finally allowed into…

Mismatched from the start: One Day I Shall Astonish the World, by Nina Stibbe, reviewed

16 April 2022 9:00 am

First the bad news: Nina Stibbe’s new novel does not feature Lizzie Vogel, the engaging narrator of the trilogy that…

Does knotted string constitute ‘writing’?

16 April 2022 9:00 am

What particularly excites Silvia Ferrara, the author of The Greatest Invention, is not language per se but writing – that…

How Britain was misled over Europe for 60 years

16 April 2022 9:00 am

Just as one is inclined to believe Carlyle’s point that the history of the world is but the biography of…

Seeing and being seen: Wet Paint, by Chloë Ashby, reviewed

16 April 2022 9:00 am

In this arresting debut novel we follow 26-year-old Eve as she tries to come to terms with the loss of…

Was Thomas Edison guilty of murder?

16 April 2022 9:00 am

In September 1890 a Frenchman called Louis Le Prince left his brother in Dijon and boarded a train to Paris,…

A pure original: the inventive genius of John Donne

16 April 2022 9:00 am

John Donne sounds like nobody else, and his poems invite us to feel that we might know him, says Daniel Swift

Blowing in the wind

9 April 2022 9:00 am

He’s still smiling but Scott Morrison might not be after reading this revealing book. If he reads it that is.…

The spycop debacle is another nail in the Met’s coffin

9 April 2022 9:00 am

In 2010, Mark Kennedy, a tattooed social justice warrior, was exposed as an undercover police officer. In this guise he…

Like it or not, cryptocurrency is here to stay

9 April 2022 9:00 am

There was a time when you could read a book to keep up to date about a subject. Well, that’s…

An inspirational teacher: Elizabeth Finch, by Julian Barnes, reviewed

9 April 2022 9:00 am

‘Whenever you see a character in a novel, let alone a biography or history book, reduced and neatened into three…

Norman Scott has the last word on a very English scandal

9 April 2022 9:00 am

Norman Scott’s long-anticipated memoir reveals the British Establishment at its worst, says Roger Lewis

How Charles II sought to obliterate a decade of British history

9 April 2022 9:00 am

When the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy, in the person of that ‘lovely black boy’ Charles II, was announced in…

The Queen’s dedication to service was learnt at her father’s knee

9 April 2022 9:00 am

If you have ever thought that there cannot be anything new to say or to learn about the Queen, you…

AOC, America’s youngest congresswoman, has already been compared with FDR and JFK

9 April 2022 9:00 am

‘Who is AOC?’ the back cover of this book asks. ‘A wack job!’ says Donald Trump. ‘She needs to run…

Are cancel-culture activists aware of their sinister bedfellows?

2 April 2022 9:00 am

Is there a woke case to be made for freedom of expression? Jacob Mchangama certainly seems to think so. This…

Zimbabwe’s politics satirised: Glory, by NoViolet Bulawayo, reviewed

2 April 2022 9:00 am

NoViolet Bulawayo’s first novel We Need New Names,shortlisted for the Booker in 2013, was a charming, tender gem, suffused with…

The parent snatchers: The School for Good Mothers, by Jessamine Chan, reviewed

2 April 2022 9:00 am

Frida Liu, the 39-year-old mother of a toddler named Harriet, has a very bad day which will haunt her for…

History must at least be readable if we’re to learn anything from it

2 April 2022 9:00 am

Richard Cohen was once one of our foremost book editors as well as being an Olympic sabre champion. Since moving…

Has the past decade blunted our sense of the duty of care?

2 April 2022 9:00 am

Modern British history can be divided into two parts: before Covid and after. That is the central pillar of this…

Homage to Joseph Johnson, the radical 18th-century publisher

2 April 2022 9:00 am

There’s no excuse for dullness, especially when writing about a life as eventful as Joseph Johnson’s, the publisher and bookseller…

You’d never guess from her art how passionate Gwen John was

2 April 2022 9:00 am

‘Dearest Gwen,’ writes Celia Paul, born 1959, to Gwen John, died 1939, ‘I know this letter to you is an…

From hearts of oak to hulls of steel: centuries of the British at sea

2 April 2022 9:00 am

An ocean of clichés surrounds Britain’s maritime history, from Chaucer’s Shipman to the ‘little ships’ at Dunkirk. Tom Nancollas, whose…

Is the Virgin Mary being sidelined by Rome?

2 April 2022 9:00 am

The Catholic church has always venerated Mary (‘Mother of God’) above other saints. But in recent years there has been…